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Yes I’m Patriotic, Yes I’m a Liberal, and Yes I’m Angry

Over the past year and especially in the past couple months we’ve all seen an increase in protest across the United States. From police brutality to the Trump presidency, people have begun responding to inequalities across the country. Mostly white men have decried these actions of protest, calling them disrespectful to our country and the people who serve it.

When Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the National Anthem, a lot of “patriotic” white men went absolutely wild and began calling Kaepernick out. Kaepernick’s stand against police brutality towards the black community caused outrage across the nation, but why? Wouldn’t you assume the reason he’s protesting, police brutality, should be causing the outrage?

People complain about rioting and unpeaceful protest, but then turn around and also complain about peaceful protest. Is the privileged community unaffected by these grievances truly against unpeaceful protest or just people voicing their grievances? Are they afraid these protestors addressing wrongdoings against them might spotlight the comfort and privilege the unaffected parties receive? Since Trump was named President-Elect, people have taken a seat during the Pledge of Allegiance and National Anthem. Not only do these two glorified poems lie about the promise freedom and equality for all, but we were all raised to stand up for them out of tradition. I would hope people would choose to stand for what they think is right, not just something they were taught from a young age to do. As a nation, we are so stuck on holding outdated traditions to higher respect than what is right. People applaud standing for the National Anthem because it shows respect to people who have served our country, then slam others for actually using the rights those men and women have sacrificed their lives for.

People who serve our country do so to preserve and uphold our rights. People like to forget that those rights include freedom of speech and to peacefully assemble. I have personally been slammed for attending the D.C. Women’s March, people saying that protesting will do nothing and that protests across the country are unnecessary. They seem to disregard that the American revolutionaries, suffragettes, MLK supporters and many other American citizens have protested and challenged their oppressors and have seen success. Protesters won’t see immediate change, but we have sent a message to the world that we won’t stand for inequality, we won’t sit idly by and allow the privileged to remain comfortably ignorant to our struggles.

Our country has given us the right to protest and speak out against inequality for a reason. We have been granted the resources we need to take action against potential threats to our freedom and protection under the law. People want to call me unpatriotic for using my rights, for giving a damn about my country and its people. However, they are the one’s who are disrespecting our country, it’s these people, and everything they stand for, preferring liberals only do as they see fit. I see conservatives make fun of liberals on a daily basis, making triggered jokes and mocking safe places. Do they not realize that they are disrespecting every man and woman who has served our country who came home from war with PTSD and legitimate triggers? Mocking mental illness by comparing liberals’ anger to something as serious as life-threatening triggers will never be a joke. Their ignorance is unjustifiable, and liberals are just sick and tired of it. Personally, I’m exhausted. I should not have to spoon feed conservatives information in an attempt to justify my views. They do not have to agree, they just have to respect my views just as I will respect theirs.

These people complaining about protesting, telling protestors to sit down and be quiet because it won’t change anything is exactly what is wrong with this country. Protestors aren’t expecting immediate change because that’s not how the legal system works. We can’t automatically undo potential wrongs Trump might make, but we can send a message. We are showing the nation that we won’t stay silent, we will make noise if we experience injustice. We are warning people that we will not stand down, we won’t just wait out Trump’s presidency if he takes action against us. Protesting is a response. We will continue addressing inequality as we see fit until it is resolved. And until then, no one should expect less.

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Hallie Sebastian
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Hallie is a 16-year-old student, artist, aspiring journalist, and ally from CNY focusing on the intersections of oppression in society.

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